Chapter

“I Besieged That Man”

Josiah Ober

in Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780520245624
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932173 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520245624.003.0004
“I Besieged That Man”

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Athenian political institutions were simple and dominated by the elite. Cleisthenes, as a preceding member of a prominent family and as an Areopagite, both surely has the right and the power to address the assembly. It seems a reasonable guess that he cemented his alliance with the demos by proposing in the assembly changes to the structure and duties of the tribes, and to the council which prepared the assembly's agenda. The subelite Athenians saw that these reforms would deflate their vulnerability by guaranteeing their standing as citizens, and might allow them to express more fully their emerging sense of themselves as citizens. Cleisthenes rushed past his aristocratic rival in the struggle for power and influence. His new influence was made manifest and signaled by victories in the assembly, possibly even by demonstrations in the streets.

Keywords: Cleisthenes; Areopagite; agenda; tribes; vulnerability

Chapter.  10693 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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